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Funk, R & B, & Soul in the Twin Cities: Musicians

A guide to MNHS resources on Twin Cities R & B, funk, and soul from the late 1960s through the early 1980s.

Musicians' Links

Musicians

There were many musicians affiliated with this period in Minnesota music.  Below you will find a brief list of notable musicians that reflects the records found in the collections at the Minnesota Historical Society:

The Valdons:

The Valdons formed in the 1960s as the "Val-dons" and continued to perform and record well into the late 1970s.  This group has included musicians such as Monroe Wright, Willie Walker, Willie Murphy, William Clark, Clifton Curtis, Napolean Crayton, amongst others.  The singers were backed by the talented backing group, Navajo Train (which later became the band Band of Thieves).  In the mid-1970s, The Valdons relocated to New York and assumed the name The Philadelphia Story.  In the late 1970s, this group was a mainstay at the local Minneapolis club The Flame.  More information and photographs can be found in the following resources:

Secret Stash Volume 1- Issue 1: Twin Cities Funk & Soul

- The Insider Magazine
  April 1972  
  MNHS call number: ML1.C62    

 

Charles Chamblis Photograph Collection

Maurice McKinnies:

In the 1960s, McKinnies formed the group The Blazers which later became The Champions which produced records with local record label Black and Proud Records.  More information and photographs can be found in the following resources:

- Secret Stash Volume 1- Issue 1: Twin Cities Funk & Soul

- The Insider Magazine
  November 1972  
  MNHS call number: ML1.C62

 

- Charles Chamblis Photograph Collection

 

 

 

Willie and the Bumblebees:

Willie and the Bumblebees formed in 1970.  The Bumblebee's sound draws from R & B and jazz influences.  More information and photographs can be found in the following resources:

- Secret Stash Volume 1- Issue 1: Twin Cities Funk & Soul

 

- The Insider Magazine
  December 1971
  MNHS call number: ML1.C62
 
 
Honey from the Bee, by Willie and the Bumblebees.
  Cushing, MN. Sweet Jane: 1978.
  MNHS call number: Sound Disc 140-A
 
66 Highway: Parts 1, 2 and 3; Too many drivers, by Willie and the Bumblebees.
  Minneapolis, MN: Sweet Jane,1972.
  MNHS call number: Sound Disc 447-B
 

Morris Wilson:

Wilson was a notable saxophone player who played in many groups such as The Lewis Connection and The Prophets of Peace.  He also founded the Minnesota Minority Musicians Association (MMMA) in 1977.  More information and photographs can be found in the following resources:

- Secret Stash Volume 1- Issue 1: Twin Cities Funk & Soul

- The Insider Magazine
  December 1978
  MNHS call number: microfilm 1405 

- Charles Chamblis Photograph Collection

- Fantasy Island, by Morris Wilson.
  Minneapolis : MoWil Records, 197?
  MNHS call number: 586-A

 

94 East:

This Minneapolis-based band, conceived by Pepe Willie and. formed in the mid-1970s, is known for having a young Prince Roger Nelson in the group.

- Minneapolis Genius: the historic 1977 recordings, by 94 East.
  New York : Hot Pink Records ; Crystal, Minn., 1985
  MNHS call number: Sound Disc 867-A

The band pictured above, Flyte Tyme, was a notable band in the 1970s and 80s made up of an array of notable musicians such as Terry Lewis (of Flyte Tyme Productions), Cynthia Johnson (of "Funkytown" fame), and Jellybean Johnson (of The Time).  Related records to each of these individuals and their respective projects is listed below:

- Mouth to Mouth, by Lipps Inc (Cynthia Johnson).
  Casablanca Record and FilmWorks, 1979
  MNHS call number: 301-A

- Flyte Tyme Productions: (Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam): search the Library Catalog with the search term "flyte tyme productions" to see a list  of recordings in our collections produced by production duo Terry Lewis and Jimmy Jam.

The Time:

Assembled in the early 1980s by Prince.  Many of the members from The Time were in the band Flyte Tyme (Jellybean Johnson, Terry Lewis). Additional members include Jimmy Jam (of Mind & Matter), Morris Day, Jesse Johnson, Monte Moir and Jerome Benton.  
 
Recordings:
 
- Chocolate, my drawers, The Time.
  Reprise Records,1990.
  MNHS call number: 149-B
 
- Jerk out, The Time.
  Paisley Park Records, 1990.
  MNHS call number: 366-A
 
- Pandemonium, The Time.
  Paisley Park Records, 1990.
  MNHS call number: 101-B
 
- What time is it?, The Time.
  Burbank, Calif. : Warner Bros. Records,1982.
  MNHS call number: 611-A
 
Video:
 
- The Walk, by The Time.
  Warner Bros. Records: 1982.
  MNHS call number: 167
 
- Cool, by The Time.
  Warner Bros. Records: 1982.
  MNHS call number: 166
 
- Chocolate, by The Time.
  Warner Bros. Records: 1990.
  MNHS call number: 781
 
- Jerk Out, by The Time.
  Warner Bros. Records: 1990.
  MNHS call number: 782
 
- Pandemonium Interview, by The Time.
  Warner Bros. Records: 1990.
  MNHS call number: 783

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